On Friday, Chanticleer was artist in residence at the American Choral Directors Association Central Division conference in Cincinnati. Music Director Matt Oltman reports on that day and others.
As you can see from following Ben's activities in the Bay Area, we are focusing heavily on education this spring (I use the word spring lightly considering the weather we are having!) Last Wednesday evening, I worked with the Arlington HS chamber choir in Ft. Worth, TX for some 4 hours! This group meets entirely outside of school hours for no credit! These kids have some serious dedication and love for choral singing! I flew to Cincinnati on Thursday for the start of the Central division ACDA conference. I immediately ran into Jay White, a former member of Chanticleer as well as members of the Central ACDA committee and several familiar faces of presenters and audience members from this pocket of the country. By Friday morning, the ensemble had arrived and we were off and running! First on the list was an "interest session" attended by about 250 convention-goers. We let them in on the inner workings of our rehearsal process as we demonstrated our preparation of a new piece written for us by Chanticleer favorite, Steven Sametz (composer of "I have had singing"). Attendees reported how enlightening it was to see a professional ensemble like ours struggle with the same issues they do in their school, church and community choruses- issues such as: vowel uniformity, text considerations, blend, breath, dynamics and rhythmic integrity. After a series of "power lunches" (a lot of connections are made at conferences like this!) I held a second "interest session" to answer questions about life in Chanticleer posed by moderator Richard Ingram and people in the audience--a little like "Oprah for choral nuts". From there, Jace and I grabbed Jay White and the three of us visited the middle and high school men's honor choirs. This was a closed session...just us and the 100 or so young men (i'm sure they'd object to the word "boys"!). We talked about our own singing experiences in childhood, adolescence and adulthood and strongly encouraged them to make personal vows to keep music and strong and vital part of the lives. Many great questions were posed by these remarkable young men and inspiration and love for singing was felt by all. The day culminated in a concert by us at St. Peter in Chains (one of our very favorite church venues) attended by choral directors, composers, publishers, and students. Every seat was full and it was a distinguished crowd.! On Saturday Ben will be rehearsing the Lab Choir for our National Youth Choral Festival. Then he will be giving clinics in Southern California, and the ensemble and I will be at another ACDA conference - in Tuscon.